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Sunday, June 13, 2021

Non-compliance of orders in PILs: Bombay HC pulls up state govt over Covid management

The HC said it does not want patients and their relatives to "run from pillar to post" and "no person should die in want of oxygen or drugs".

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: May 20, 2021 1:58:59 am
People wait to receive COVID-19 vaccine in Mumbai, India. (PTI Photo)

Pulling up the state for “not complying with its earlier orders in PILs”, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday expressed displeasure over “improper management of Covid-19 treatment” in Maharashtra.

The HC said it does not want patients and their relatives to “run from pillar to post” and “no person should die in want of oxygen or drugs”.

“If by next hearing, if we find you (state) are not serious in compliance of our earlier orders, we will be compelled to seek presence of Chief Secretary of Maharashtra,” the HC told the state lawyer.

The HC had earlier passed directions to the state to ensure streamlining of oxygen and remdesivir supply, availability of beds and strict action against black marketing of drugs.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni was hearing a clutch of petitions seeking directions over shortage of remdesivir and oxygen and monitoring of black marketing, which is taking place during procurement and distribution of Covid-19 drugs.

The HC noted that during the last hearing, the requirement of oxygen in the state was nearly 1,500 metric tonne and now it is about 1,718 MT. “While the numbers (Covid-19 cases) are decreasing, the requirement of oxygen is not decreasing?” the HC asked.

It directed the Centre and the state to place their reports in compliance with earlier orders as to how such drug, which is in “short supply”, is available to politicians and film stars for “distribution to public at large”.

“We also record our displeasure at the casual manner in which the show cause notices dated May 14 have been issued to these personalities by concerned drug inspectors. Not only the notices fail to refer to the orders passed by us, despite the lapse of time to reply, no action has been taken,” the HC said.

It added that all civic bodies in Maharashtra should follow the “pattern” of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) of having civic run hospitals with affiliated medical colleges to increase availability of hospital beds.

“This is an extraordinary vision and therefore, they (BMC) can bring it under control. There has to be a relook at medical education. This pandemic has been an eye-opener for medical research, facilities,” the HC said.

Seeking affidavits in reply to its queries from the Centre, state and civic bodies, the HC posted hearing to May 27.

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